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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

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some employers do it. i work for vumc, and they pay for the bus -- i just swipe my employee badge when i board the bus. i was talking to the director of space & facilities, and he told me it's cheaper to pay for an employee's bus fare than to build and maintain 1 parking space that employee might have otherwised used. i know belmont has a similar arrangement. i wonder if they will pay for the mc star when it's up and running.

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Some type of light rail or subway would definitely be helpful between downtown & Vandy. I've walked from DT to as far as Music Row... and well... that's a purty far walk lol. Especially goin back :D Obviously most people would drive, take a bus, or a cab... but hey... I think a subway system would be so much more convenient & inexpensive.

I don't see why they don't start planning & building it now. It seems like it would go over pretty well here. The MetroLink in St. Louis is a fairly recent example... which seems to do good. I don't even think they had commuter rail before it was put in... kindof backwards to Nash... but I could be wrong. :unsure:

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Well, Nashville is definately the one doing it backwards. Usually, infrastructure is set up in downtown, and then the commuter rail. That way, the commuters have a way to get to their work once their downtown. But, hey, I'll take anything.

And yeah, a subway system would be convenient, but they are VERY expensive. It would need a high ridership to pay for the costs, and I don't think Nashville could handle that, yet. A very detailed and efficient LRT system would work best. I think it should go down West End or Broadway, and/or make a loop around the CBD, and also probably a line to the airport. It would definately have to connect w/ the commuter rail station, so that the commuters can get to their work easily, and never have to walk out away from the station. Just my thought.

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Don't know if you guys caught it, but yesterdays City Paper had an article about ridership being UP on Nashville Buses this year. Seems the high gas prices are starting to get people out of their cars and using Public Transportation more often. Should bode well for the Star.

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Yeh that is good. Also, in pres. bush's article this morning he said Americans are addicted to oil and need to become less reliant on it. That also bodes well for the star.

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Metrolink in STL is light rail. Compared to the commuter rail that Nashville is building it is hugely expensive and difficult to pull off if there isn't a lot of political will to force through the tax increases needed to pay for it. Often plans for LRT fail because the population does not see the benefit in it. Despite the President's speech last night his budget only approved 2 new systems next year (out of 26+ that applied) and that was only for 50% of the funding. So the end result is these systems only get built now if there are local taxes to pay for significant parts of it. Most LRT lines start at $400M and quickly go up from there.

I think that Nashville is doing it correctly in building a fairly low cost commuter rail system. It allows a transit line to get off the ground and if it is successful it will spur on support for the more difficult job in getting a light rail line(s) approved.

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Some type of light rail or subway would definitely be helpful between downtown & Vandy. I've walked from DT to as far as Music Row... and well... that's a purty far walk lol. Especially goin back :D

When I lived downtown I walked that distance many of times, usually on my way to Bi-Cen Park area or to Hillsboro Village. Its a good walk, but not that bad IMO, but I'm big into walking and find it relaxing and less stressful than trying to find a parking spot, fight traffic, etc. Its definately not pratical year-round as the summers can get awfully hot for that distance.

I agree with others who think that Nashville is doing it right. This is pratical and realistic step forward for regional mass transit. There is simply not enough demand for light rail, except maybe for a DT to West End route and there is little chance IMO that one limited line would get much support in Metro Council.

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Channel 4 is doing a story on Mass Transit-Commuter Rail in Murfreesboro tonight. Does anybody know if there is news forthcoming? I know that Murf. has been doing a study on it and there is substantial interest in it. I don't know if I will catch the news tonight--if anybody does please post some updates.

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I agree with others who think that Nashville is doing it right. This is pratical and realistic step forward for regional mass transit. There is simply not enough demand for light rail, except maybe for a DT to West End route and there is little chance IMO that one limited line would get much support in Metro Council.

I got an earful from my buddy who works at Vandy's Dev. Office.... Of course he's busy with the $1.5 billion in construction going on there and campus planning. But rest assured, his department at Vandy is very much involved in planning for LRT. He said that a target for completing a full ring around the West End and DT centers is 2015, and it will be about $1.2 billion. Not surprisingly, they're weighing the possibilities of floating bonds backed by Hotel/Motel taxes. They're trying to see if they can split part of the costs with what will no doubt be required for the convention center. As he told me... Regarding mass transit, Nashville is early in phase 1 of a possibly 3 phase build out. So you'll all be hearing more in the next 5 years, as the Commuter Rail is wrapping up.

They are doing full traffic planning and working with the MTA on future development and ridership needs (e.g. how could Peabody residents get to new classrooms if they are built along 31st). They're also considering going under the campus. That would be hilarious if Nashville had a "subway". Of course with all the rock, that would drive the costs up a lot. Obviously they're still planning.

The big question mark this early in the game is what's going to happen DT. Of course, one key area that they need to wait on for real time study is the completion of the commuter rail stations and see what traffic demands will be from one station to another. Second, they'll need to see where the new convention center and hotels will go. One idea kicked around is for a partial underground running along Demonbreun and coming out at the gulch. There could be a station underneath the proposed roundabout at 8th and Demonbreun. The possibilities are very cool.

Edited by ATLBrain

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Wow, that does sound cool--also kinda sounds like sci-fi stuff--seeya at the Nashville Underground. I like the sound of that.

ATL--the timeline is confusing to me. "the next 5 years, as the commuter rail is wrapping up"--from what I have heard the complete Music City Star system was projected to have a buildout of like 10 or 15 years--do you think that getting the Commuter Rail and a complete LRT by 2015 is anywhere near realistic or just a "target date" that no one takes seriously?

I would love it if it is.

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Wow, that does sound cool--also kinda sounds like sci-fi stuff--seeya at the Nashville Underground. I like the sound of that.

ATL--"the next 5 years, as the commuter rail is wrapping up"

I'm admittedly rusty on start/end dates... they must have been start dates that I was thinking of. I'll defer to your knowledge of the timelines. My buddy rattled off years, and I was going from memory. I'm sorry about not getting it right. The thing I did pick up from him was the "early in phase 1" vs. "later phase 2 or 3" when the system would be completed. As I think about how long it took Atlanta to build the core network of Marta's LRT (15 years), then it seems more realistic to think LRT in Nashville could be finished before 2025. Still, it's nice to know they're already trying to plan for it.

Edited by ATLBrain

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That is pretty exciting for Nashville. I would love to see an actual subway in the downtown area. Personally, I don't think it's all that unreasonable either. It seems to me that if they are going to build a light rail system in the downtown area... it should be done right... even if that means taking a little longer to get it done. And doing it right would be making it a subway, at least in certain areas. There are parts of downtown that it just wouldn't really look right otherwise, in my opinion anyway.

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That is pretty exciting for Nashville. I would love to see an actual subway in the downtown area. Personally, I don't think it's all that unreasonable either. It seems to me that if they are going to build a light rail system in the downtown area... it should be done right... even if that means taking a little longer to get it done. And doing it right would be making it a subway, at least in certain areas. There are parts of downtown that it just wouldn't really look right otherwise, in my opinion anyway.

I'm not sure downtown is big enough to warrant the expense of a subway. Let's face it, you can walk from 2nd Ave to the Gulch in 10 minutes. This could change over time, but the LRT seems to be the best fit in our existing urban fabric, not to mention the most economical and most flexible in terms of loading/unloading stops. All the corridors leading into downtown could easily accommodate losing a lane or two, though at first there'd be a lot of P.O'd drivers(until they realized they would no longer need to drive).

In thinking of the downtown as a hub, I've struggled with the idea of stations. Do we build one large station (similar with the bus station to be built) in one location? Or do we have a series of smaller stations that serve as turnaround points for each line? There of course would probably need to be a kind of bypass station where you could hit other lines and skip downtown if you wanted to head from Gallatin to Cool Springs. Others smarter than I have probably thought this through.

The thing I would most like to see from the development of LRT is how development WILL follow it. The old saying 'Build it and they will come' will hold true. We just need the right people in the right places to push this thing forward. A system probably won't be profitable for the first few years as you try and convince people to change their mindsets in regard to transit.

As a first phase of seeing the LRT, I'd like to see it implemented in areas that will benefit the most. These areas seem to be those along Charlotte/ Gallatin-Dickerson Pikes. Put these in areas that will provide the most good for people who don't have cars in the first place. This will help build ridership numbers in areas where people currently use mass transit the most. Building first for the rich to have an amusement ride of sorts doesn't seem to provide the most good.

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I got an earful from my buddy who works at Vandy's Dev. Office.... Of course he's busy with the $1.5 billion in construction going on there and campus planning. But rest assured, his department at Vandy is very much involved in planning for LRT. He said that a target for completing a full ring around the West End and DT centers is 2015, and it will be about $1.2 billion. Not surprisingly, they're weighing the possibilities of floating bonds backed by Hotel/Motel taxes. They're trying to see if they can split part of the costs with what will no doubt be required for the convention center. As he told me... Regarding mass transit, Nashville is early in phase 1 of a possibly 3 phase build out. So you'll all be hearing more in the next 5 years, as the Commuter Rail is wrapping up.

So they there is an idea out there to try to add on financing a LRT when they go for the convention center? Interesting. Maybe it would work. I think Metro Council and others may be wary though of trying to gamble on selling that to their constituents that soon. I think maybe in 10-15 years they might be more open to starting a project, but I would be suprised if they get it done by 2015. Not to say it couldn't be done.

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In thinking of the downtown as a hub, I've struggled with the idea of stations. Do we build one large station (similar with the bus station to be built) in one location? Or do we have a series of smaller stations that serve as turnaround points for each line? There of course would probably need to be a kind of bypass station where you could hit other lines and skip downtown if you wanted to head from Gallatin to Cool Springs. Others smarter than I have probably thought this through.

The Multi-Station idea is how Boise built its Bus system, i ride the bus that goes through my part of town, change lines, and i can be in Nampa, ID about 20 miles away, or at the mall, about 10 miles away(Boise's Metro is really spred out...)

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I do not think there is profitable mass transit system in the US. They are heavily subsized. They still should be invested in because if you consider the larger picture the often times do pay for themselves. The car is heavily subsidized (i.e. roads and development patterns). One thing that motivates people to use mass transit more is if it becomes more convenient than driving and/or it cost significantly less. So if we keep fixing the congestion problems on the roadway with widening roads (which never have the results we want,

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...0324/1021/EDIT),

AsWalter Kulash, a well known traffic engineer, says, "Trying to solve the problem of traffic congestion by adding lanes is like trying to solve the problem of obesity by loosening your belt."

then we are just enabling everyone's driving habits. The way we build our cities also continues to add to this problem. Luckily, this is beginning to shift to the side of reason as mixed-use is becoming the norm. Frankly, I think people are finally sick out it. We discussed at the meeting last week, how much time living near work saves everyone. This time can be reinvested into our families, health, jobs or whatever floats your boat.

I have thought a subway would be great. Digging up West End and Hillsboro Rd to name a few, but I do not think it would be a better option than a light rail system. It is too invasive. I can not help to think of the trams in Amsterdam. These seemed to work extremely well, right along side with the pedestrian, cars, and bicycles.

I am surprised no one has mentioned bikes and walking. Most of the surrounding neighborhoods to the CBD are within 10-15 minutes by bike and obviously less time to destinations within the neighborhoods. Walking seems to be more viable within the neighborhood. This is easier said than done because we convince ourselves we do not have time for it. I am just a guilty as the next. Though I do try occasionally and I am always the better for it.

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Went snooping around today... so here's an update on the DT station lol

20060215_0081.jpg

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(This is inside the building... not a lot to see right now)

20060215_0088.jpg

Can someone tell me what this strange building is across from the train station?

I also found some other strange structures on that side of the river... :huh:

Edited by jice

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Can someone tell me what this strange building is across from the train station?

I also found some other strange structures on that side of the river... :huh:

I believe that's the old admin building for Nashville Bridge Co (Nabrico) owned at one time by George Steinbrenner. It think it was subsumed by the property acquisition for the coliseum. At one time about seven years ago, I think that Bud Adams vetoed the Gerst Haus moving into this one. I'll betcha Dave has lots of info on this one.

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